Let me get this out right away: I don’t care for oatmeal. At all.  Growing up in Brazil it was not part of my breakfast, in fact I only learned about it when I was 26 years old and arrived in the US for the first time for a post doc. I thought the texture was unpleasant, the taste very bland, unless you dump a ton of brown sugar and heavy cream and this and that on top. What would be the point then? However, oatmeal is very popular, considered a healthy option to start the day, keeping you full until lunch time with good amount of fiber, the right carbs, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. None of this would make me look forward to a bowl of oatmeal to start my day, especially considering I am not a breakfast person. But hubby loves it. And that was enough to make me try a sous-vide version. I had no idea it would be a game-changer for me. It’s really tasty. So, if you are an oatmeal hater who owns a sous-vide gadget, I urge you to give this recipe a try. If you don’t have a sous-vide, I heard that crock pot versions can be excellent too, but I have no personal experience with it.

(adapted from several sous-vide sources)

8 jars with 4-ounce capacity
4 jars with 8-ounce capacity

for each small (4oz) jar:
2 tablespoons steel-cut oats
70 g water
pinch of salt

for each bigger (8oz) jar:
4 tablespoons steel-cut oats
140 g water
pinch of salt

Using sous vide circulator, bring water to 155°F.  Fill the jars of your choice with the appropriate amount of oats, water, add the salt. Seal jars. If they have screw-caps, don’t tighten them too much. Lower jars slowly in the prepared water bath until fully submerged. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 hours.

Remove jars from water-bath. Stir oats and serve with the toppings of your choice. If using the small jars, you’ll need two of them to make a single portion.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I now realize that texture was my main issue with oatmeal. For some reason, even after cooking for so many hours, the sous-vide results in oats with the exact amount of bite for my taste. I still prefer to have them later in the day with a fried egg on top. I call it light lunch. The jars, once ready, can sit in the fridge for a few days. When you are ready for breakfast (or any other time of the day you feel like it), pour the contents in a bowl and warm very very briefly in the microwave. Add the toppings you love and you are done.  Golden raisins and a touch of brown sugar is a nice combination, and yes, I’ve had that for lunch more than once.

As I mentioned, you can find plenty of recipes for overnight oatmeal using a slow-cooker.  I imagine they will please all oatmeal lovers, but if you are part of my team, sous-vide might be the real winner. Plus, I am always happy to find new uses for my beloved Anova gadget.

One last thing: many recipes using sous-vide call for longer cooking times. I prefer to keep a maximum of 12 hours, but 10 hours worked better for us. After 12 hours of cooking the texture got a tad too soft for our taste.

ONE YEAR AGO: A Valentine’s Day Opera

TWO YEARS AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four

THREE YEARS AGO: Walnut-Cranberry Sourdough Bread

FOUR YEARS AGO: Ottolenghi in Brazil?

FIVE YEARS AGO: Roasted Winter Vegetables with Miso-Lime Dressing

SIX YEARS AGO: 2012 Fitness Report: P90X2

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Caramelized Bananas

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

NINE YEARS AGO: Whole Wheat Bread


This is a long overdue post. I made this recipe last month, but have been meaning to write about this cookbook ever since I bought it, back in October. Seven long months ago. Shocking.  Oatmeal is definitely something associated with breakfast, and served on the sweet side. With milk, brown sugar, cream, maybe some stewed apples or bananas. In her book Adventures in Slow-Cooking, Sarah di Gregorio shares a version for savory oatmeal and raves about it. I had to try it. It was really tasty, and she gave me permission to share the recipe with you… So, without further ado…

(published with permission from Sarah Di Gregorio)

1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
Kosher salt
½ pound thick-cut bacon
5 scallions, trimmed, light green and white parts thinly sliced
8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about 2 heaping cups)
Freshly ground black pepper
Fried or poached eggs, for topping (1 per person)

Generously butter a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker. Add the oats, 4 cups water, and I teaspoon salt. Cook until the oatmeal is thick and tender: on LOW for 4 hours or on LOW for 2 hours followed by WARM for 6 to 7 hours.

Put the bacon into a cold large skillet and bring the heat to medium. Cook, flipping a couple of times, until the bacon has rendered a lot of its fat and is deeply browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then coarsely chop. You can do this right before serving the oatmeal or the day before, in which case store the crisped bacon in an airtight container in the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before using.

When the oatmeal is done, stir in the bacon, white and light green scallion slices, and about three-quarters of the cheese (about 6 ounces). Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary and a few grinds of pepper. Serve in bowls topped with the remaining cheese, the dark green sliced scallions, and eggs, if you like.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I’ve always been intrigued by the use of oatmeal in savory dishes. I am not an oatmeal fan in traditional breakfast preparations, but decided to open my mind and give it a try. I don’t normally eat breakfast and found that this meal was perfect at lunch time. Kept me full until dinner, and was full of flavor.  I also made a vegetarian version using sautéed mushrooms instead of bacon. Worked great too, I made sure to brown them well and added a touch of soy sauce at the end. Delicious! In Sarah’s words:

Speaking of the egg: I know most people are tired of the image of egg yolk flooding whatever is served underneath, but forgive me… this was too good to skip…


by Sarah di Gregorio

First, let me share with you the review I wrote for it at

I fell in love with this book at first page. I don’t have much patience for long introductions and considered just skipping that part to dive into recipes. Well, I could not stop reading. Sarah is a talented writer and definitely knows how to use the slow-cooker the way it is intended to be used. No dump and run approach. This is slow-cooking for gourmet cooks, those who will not accept anything with the “crock pot texture.” I bought this book even though there was only ONE review about it. Took a big risk, right? Well, I am so glad I did. I own more than 500 cookbooks, and this might very well be my favorite for slow-cooking. Awesome. Just awesome. Buy it and you will not be disappointed. Now, if you are part of the team of dump it and forget it, this book is NOT for you. This is not a criticism to you, just a warning that you might not like it that much….

That pretty much explains why I had to review it here, I think that anyone who owns a crock pot will benefit from this book. I have a file in my computer (way out of date) called “The Best from Each.” In that file I list recipes from my Kindle cookbooks that appeal to me. Sarah’s cookbook broke the record for the largest proportion of recipes that made into that folder. From 120 recipes, 35 made the cut. That’s almost one-third of them. Pretty impressive.  Here is a cut-and-paste job from my computer:

Classic Chicken Stock (wings)

Winter Tomato Sauce (Marcella Hazan)

Lentils, beans, chickpeas method

Grains, farro, barley, black rice etc method

Smoky Chipotle Ketchup (interesting)

Crisp Chicken Wings with Szechuan Caramel

Chawan Mushi (interesting savory custard)

Pistachios, Coconut, and Cardamon Granola

Savory Oatmeal with Bacon, Scallions and Cheddar

Crustless Quiche with Smoked Salmon

Summer Tomato, Basil and Burrata Grain Bowl

Roasted Red Pepper, Caper, Walnut and Tahini Grain Bowl

Creamy Barley with Corn and Green Chile-Lime Salsa

Farro Puttanesca

Shakshuka with Feta and Olives

Caramelized Cherry Tomatoes

Stuffed Meatballs in Lots of Sauce

Spiced Lamb Meatballs in Harissa Tomato Sauce

Smoky Barbecued Brisket

Chipotle Almond Braised Beef Tacos
(Quick Pickled Onions) – to go with it, very nice method

Orange, Olive and Fennel Chicken Tagine
(Turmeric Yogurt) – to go with it

Miso-Butter Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Buttery Duck Confit 

Harissa Pork Chili with Toppings Galore

Sticky Gochujang Pork

Za’tar Roast Chicken

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Maple Caramel

Coconut Banana Cake with Brown Butter Caramel Sauce

Matcha-White Chocolate Pots de Crème

Vietnamese Coffee Pots de Crème

Cannoli Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Earl Grey Cream

Cardamon-Molasses Apple Upside-Down Cake

TEASER RECIPE:  from the list, I made the Farro Puttanesca. To die for! Farro cooked in the crock pot has perfect texture, this preparation was luscious, perfect by itself or as a side dish for roast chicken, grilled salmon, steak, pretty much anything you’d like. A very creative way to serve farro. Made a lot, but froze well too…


Sarah, thank you and your editors for allowing me
to publish one of your recipes.


ONE YEAR AGO: Air-Fried Carrots, Two Ways (most popular post on my blog!)

TWO YEARS AGO: Five Minutes in L.I.T (a tour of our laboratory!)

THREE YEARS AGO: Chicken Thighs with Artichokes and Capers

FOUR YEARS AGO: Pea Pancakes with Herbed Yogurt

FIVE YEARS AGO: Mushroom Stroganoff

SIX YEARS AGO: Tomato Sourdough

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Gamberetti con rucola e pomodori

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Flirting with Orzo
























Mondays keep coming, rushing over me, but the toughest day in the week is made brighter when it’s…. Reveal Day of The Secret Recipe Club!  This club is getting more and more interesting, as new food bloggers join in. I heard the waiting list is huge, so if you have any interest in this type of group event, get yourself in line!    This month I was paired with the blog Everyday Insanity. The name describes my days quite closely… 😉  I also love her tag line: Tackling life, one brownie recipe at a time!  Everyday Insanity is hosted by Cindy, and her choice of name for the blog might be due to her having 6 kids and 14 grandchildren!  My life all of a sudden feels like a walk at the park. Seriously.  Her blog is full of tasty recipes, not only sweets.  I was very tempted to make her Thai Coconut Chicken soup, but these bars won me over. Plus, the timing was perfect: I brought them to our department on Valentine’s Day!

(from Everyday Insanity)

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1+1/4 cup light brown sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt + 1 pinch, divided
10 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 + 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 egg

Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8 inch square baker with aluminum foil, allowing excess to hang over the edges of the pan.  Grease foil; set pan aside.

Combine the oats, 1 cup of brown sugar, ¾ cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt.  Stir together in a bowl to combine.  Melt 8 Tbsp butter and stir into the oat mixture until combined.  Reserve ¾ cup of the mixture for the topping.  Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan and press into an even layer.  Bake until light golden brown, about 12 minutes.  Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Combine the remaining ¼ cup flour, the remaining ¼ cup brown sugar, and the remaining  ¼ tsp salt in a bowl.  Set aside.

Melt the chocolate chips and the remaining 2 Tbsp butter in a large bowl, microwaving at 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each.  Let cool slightly.  Add the egg and whisk until combined.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

Pour the chocolate filling over the cooled crust and sprinkle with the remaining oatmeal mixture.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.  Using the foil overhang, lift the bars from the pan and cut into squares.  Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Valentine’s Day this year fell on a Thursday, so I bravely decided to tackle this recipe the evening before. After work. After dinner. Not a smart move.  I completely overlooked the instruction to “reserve part of the mixture for the topping”, and of course got into full-blast panic mode when I noticed my mistake.  By then the base of the bar was already in the oven.   I rushed to make a little more topping, calculating proportions of all ingredients quickly in my mind, hoping for the best.  Probably due to my level of stress, the chocolate seized in the microwave, prompting me to throw one of those fits that brings Phil back into the kitchen, already holding a box of Kleenex.  To make a long story short, without him, there would be no bars.  Unbearable thought.

So, when you make these absolutely delicious bars, do yourself a favor and follow the recipe as written.  That way the base of your bar will the thinner, and the crumb topping will be lighter, as intended.

Cindy, it was wonderful to get to “meet” you through this baking adventure!  Thanks to you (and also to the imperturbable man I married), I could take a platter full of sweetness to work on the sweetest day of the year!


To see what others in my group prepared for Reveal Day, click on the funky little frog smiling at the end of the post. Do you want to know who got my blog and what she cook from it?   Jane, from The Healthy Beehive picked a favorite recipe of mine, check it out by clicking here

ONE  YEAR AGO: Cauliflower Steaks

TWO YEARS AGO: Soft Spot for Chevre

THREE YEARS AGO: Quick sun-dried Tomato Crostini


I could call it “my secret weapon”  to  counteract usual over-indulgences. Back in June, I bought  the  book   “The Dukan Dietand tried that nutritional system for a while. I found out that I really like his oatmeal galette, a nice source of protein and complex carbs that became part of my weekday lunches.  The galette can also be adapted for breakfast by omitting the salt, pepper and spices, and adding a little Splenda or the sweetener of your choice.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for Dukan-type pancake
1 egg white
2 Tbs non-fat yogurt
2 Tbs oatmeal
salt and pepper
pinch of dried thyme

for chicken
chicken breasts, boneless
water to cover
splash of soy sauce
1 Tbs green tea
2 star anise
a few peppercorns
piece of ginger
squeeze of lemon juice

Poach the chicken by bringing all ingredients to a gentle boil in a saucepan, cover the pan, turn the heat off, and allow the meat to sit in the liquid for 25 minutes.  Remove from the pan, and keep in the fridge until needed (I usually cook 3 chicken breasts on the weekend, and save for lunches the following week).

Make the pancake by beating the egg white in  a small bowl.  In another bowl, mix the yogurt with the oat bran, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Add the beaten egg white to the yogurt, and mix gently with a silicone spatula.   Spray a very light coating of olive oil on a non-stick frying pan, heat the pan over medium heat, and pour the pancake batter on it.  Fry the first side until the top seems to be getting dry, then carefully flip the pancake over. Cook the second side for a couple of minutes, and slide the pancake on a plate.

Cut the chicken breast in slices, add to the same pan you cooked the pancake, adding just a little more oil if necessary.   Saute the chicken slices briefly just to warm them up and get some color.  A squeeze of lemon juice at the end brightens up the flavor. Serve it with the pancake and a small bowl of non-fat cottage cheese, seasoned with salt and pepper.


to print the recipe, click here

I love poaching chicken in green tea and soy sauce.  The  meat gets a delicate hint of color, and the addition of ginger and star anise imparts nice flavor.   You can use chicken poached this way in other recipes, of course.  Shredded for salads, filling of fajitas, or even incorporated in a sauce for pasta.   As to non-fat cottage cheese,  I admit it’s not very gourmet…  The low-fat version is better,  the full-fat truly delicious, but when I’m on my protein-only mission, I stick with the zero fat, and use it to build not only muscle, but character.   😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Festivus Dinner Rolls

TWO YEARS AGO:  New York Deli Rye

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Two of my favorite bread baking sites are Wild Yeast and The Fresh Loaf.  Every Friday, I look forward to Susan’s Yeastspotting event,  that showcases  breads baked during the previous week by folks all over the world.  And The Fresh Loaf is a discussion forum with help and advice for beginners as well as experienced bakers.  Through my visits to both sites over several years,  I got to know – virtually, at least  –  some amazing bread bakers like MC, who runs the blog with the cute name “Farine.”   Not too long ago she raved about a bread from Orchard Hill Breadworks, a bakery in New Hampshire owned by Noah Elbers.  During her visit to the bakery, she learned how to make one of their signature breads, with two flavors I am quite fond of:  oatmeal and maple syrup.

I won’t lie to you, the preparation is a bit involved: the day before you’ll need to bake the oatmeal, refresh your sourdough starter, and make a poolish with commercial yeast. But your hard work will pay off, big time…   😉

(reprinted from Farine‘s blog, with permission from Noah Elbers)

447 g all-purpose unbleached flour
151 g whole-wheat flour
151 g steel-cut oatmeal, baked
328 g water
151 g liquid starter
151 g poolish
121 g pure maple syrup
16 g salt
The day before baking the bread:
1. Refresh your sourdough starter, to make sure it is bubbly and active when you make the dough next morning. I do that about 12 hours before mixing the dough, by mixing 2 tsp of mature starter with 150g water and 150g flour.  Next morning remove the amount you need and keep the rest in the fridge.

2. Make the poolish by mixing 100g flour + pinch of instant yeast + 100 g/ml water recipe: Leave to ferment overnight. You will not use it all, weigh what you need for the recipe.

3. Bake the oatmeal.  Boil water, then mix it with the oatmeal in a baking dish (200g oatmeal + 200g/ml boiling water).  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in a 400F oven for 40 minutes.  The mixture will turn into a brick.  Once it cools, break the bits of oatmeal with your fingers, and weigh the amount needed for the dough.

On baking day:
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl (except the salt),  kneading briefly to form a shaggy mass.  Let the mixture resting for 30 minutes.    Add the salt and incorporate by gentle kneading.

Let the dough rest for 40 minutes.  Knead by folding the dough in itself 4-6 times.  Let the dough rest for 40 minutes more.  Knead it again by folding.
Let the dough rise for 40 minutes, do one final cycle of kneading, then allow it to sit undisturbed for a full hour  (total bulk fermentation will be about 3 hours).

Shape the dough as a large batard, or divide in two and shape as a small round (that’s what I did).  Let the shaped bread rise for 1 hour at room temperature, then retard it in the fridge for 12-15 hours.

Bring the bread to room temperature for 2 hours before baking in a 450F oven for 45 minutes (25 minutes under steam, covered, 20 minutes uncovered).  Cool the bread for at least one hour before indulging in it.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Even though this bread takes oatmeal and maple syrup, it is not sweet.  I think its sourdough nature creates a nice counterpart to the sweetness, so that the bread is quite versatile:  you can enjoy it with peanut butter and jelly (like my husband did), or go for a bit of Brie or Camembert (my favorite take).

I highly recommend that you visit Farine website, and click on the video made in the bakery during the preparation of this bread.  It is amazing to see how those talented bakers handle a huge amount of dough, from mixing to shaping.   And while you are net-surfing, make sure to stop by the bakery website and read about how it all started, a fascinating story told by Noah himself.

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGO: Black Trumpet-Coffee Crusted Pork Tenderloin (one of my personal favorites!)

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